MY TOP 20 FILMS OF 2014

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Yesterday I posted my list of films that as I generally wade through the years of film canon I enjoyed immensely. If you missed it go and check it out for me and say something about it (or not).

Today I will be talking about the topic that if you’re reading this you’re probably already tired of hearing about. My favourite films of the year gone by. I’m certain I share a lot of titles with many of my online colleagues and I can spend the next 2/3 lines mentioning the myriad of films that I’ve not seen due to geographical or many other reasons. Regardless here are 20 films of all the 2014 theatrical releases that I love and would love to widely recommend to you guys to check out.

*I just want to say that while you may see a number ranking in this post I really don’t mean it. I honestly feel that this list order is interchangeable dependent on the day and mood I’m in. Feel free to take all of these films as a collective and not a competitive rout.

*Also… I wish I could write an preamble to this post as amazingly as Scott Wampler of Badass Digest did. Read his intro and the ending paragraph that the asteric is referencing discussing why his intro is like that. My new writing hero.

20. Godzilla (dir. Gareth Edwards)

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I started souring on this film in the theatre at about the 3/4 part. Then Godzilla did more Godzilliaing and I loved it. Still had issues with pacing and how horrible the Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen characters were. After watching it 3 more times since at home I really find they’re moments more poor shots than a killer of the movie.

19. Starred Up (dir. David McKenzie)

starred up

If we want to talk about acting movies then welcome to the world of Jack O’Connell. A reminder that if there’s one thing British cinema knows how to do it’s make dark characters that make you hate dark underworlds. Reminded me a bit of Bronson and how I need to rewatch that movie.

18. They Came Together (dir. David Wain)

they came together

We all hate romantic comedies. Even to the layest of viewer you know you do. For those sick days that you curl up in your bed watching a cycle of them with a tub of ice cream. Do yourself and favour and dig deep into this really dedicated 90 minute joke on the genre and how it is horrible for us as people and movie goers.

17. 22 Jump Street (dir. Phil Lord & Chris Miller)

22 jump street

While comedy sequels can fail in many ways I have to say I’ve enjoyed my fair share. I didn’t expect it to be as remarkable a film on my memory as it was but seriously I love this movie.

16. The Guest (dir. Adam Wingard)

the guest

I know you guys think of me as that guy who magically loves horrible movies. I want to nominate Adam Wingard as the true owner of such a title. This movie feels like he saw too many horrible 70s and 80s thrillers and just leaned into that joke way too hard to the point of making a really entertaining 90 minute film that has one of the most fun horrible characters of the year.

15. Noah (dir. Darren Aronofsky)

noah

Darren Aronofsky read the Korean translation of the Bible and gave us one of the strangest and most endearing interpretations of the story of Noah and his ark. I still minus a point for no “Joom-Pa” gags.

14. The Congress (dir. Ari Folman)

the congress

I love movies. I think about them constantly. I try to break them apart from an innumerable number of angles and am still discovering more ways to look at them every day. Here is a film which looks at filmmaking’s potential future where we no longer have actors and actresses but just digitized images that are shifted and formed to make stories without an actor even ever knowing about it. It’s unique and definitely worth taking a friend for a beer to discuss.

13. The Lunchbox (dir. Ritesh Batra)

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Remember my comment earlier about romantic comedies? I don’t, because this is the best romantic comedy ever. Circled around the premise that for one single person all across India the supposed perfected system of delivering lunchboxes to husbands at work messes up repeatedly we watch Irfan Kahn and Nimrat Kaur develop a relationship, that never oversteps it’s bounds too far, in a way that we can truly love.

12. The Raid: Berandal (dir. Gareth Evans)

the raid 2

I love action. I love kung fu. I love mob movies. The film that’s a sequel only because it made it easier to be financed to make. The story of an policeman who goes undercover to go after a new ruthless crime boss in his city carries more weight in every punch than probably any other action film of 2014. Well worth ‘The Raid’ title in every scene that almost feels like it lasts too long and leaves too soon all at the same time I have amazed by it everytime I watch it.

11. Jodorowsky’s Dune (dir. Frank Pavich)

jodorowskys dune

I had to sneak one documentary in here didn’t I? Here we get the long tale of how this infamous Mexican filmmaker (whom I had only heard of by name) had planned to make one of the most ambitious science fiction films of our generation and it never ended up happening was great. Many people were divided when Panahi released ‘This is Not a Film’ where he sat down discussing his life and the film he wanted to make describing scene to scene, but with this film and the exaggerated character of Alejandro Jodorowsky talking to us as if he’s a firecracker himself about this work never loses our focus.

10. Like Father, Like Son (dir. Hirokazu Koreeda)

like father like son

Does blood make all bonds? Does the lack of it break them? What would you do if you found out your son was switched with another at birth and the child in your home you have called son for in excess of five years was in fact not your son? More to the point you now know who your son is? The film discusses this very idea and the takes us through the mental process of trying to manage that sort of a decision.

9. Blue Ruin (dir. Jeremy Saulnier)

blue ruin

Do you remember ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’? Let’s make that super dark and as if it’s a Dark Knight reboot but without the billion dollar budget for toys and suits to protect everyone involved. Revenge at it’s finest.

8. Nightcrawler (dir. Dan Gilroy)

nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal reminds us year after year why he’s a star and he’s reached the point now where even the most unconventional of film he can make into a film of note, culturally and narratively. When you scrap the dirt out of your eyes after delving into the world that is Lou Bloom and his venture into journalism we can talk about how down right disturbing this movie.

7. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)

a girl walks home alone at night

What if in Iran there was a suburban town where there was a woman walking alone at night and she happened to be a vampire? In a film that has probably one of the best soundtracks of the year it skates by with a tone that never feels trite and always works.

6. Foxcatcher (dir. Bennet Miller)

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If a film’s greatness is decided by it’s characters and how much the actors dedicate to them then Foxcatcher is one of the greatest films of 2014. While we’ll all talk about Carell’s teeth and transformative performance. I want to focus more on Tatum and Ruffallo as the Schultz brothers. They are what sold me on this film. While Carell’s character is vastly interesting; Ruffalo brings warmth to a story of freezing temperatures.

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson)

The Grand Budapest Hotel - 64th Berlin Film Festival

It was only upon my third time through that I realized why I truly love this movie. It’s not just Anderson’s whimsy, or his style being so heavy; it’s that he made one of the best caper mysteries of the last decade and it just keeps unwinding in front of my in perfect symmetry.

4. Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)

under the skin

If you ever felt the need to begin to feel afraid of all women who attempt to seduce you watch this movie.

More to the point what I loved about this movie was actually how human it ended up being. A film about an alien abducting men via seduction ends up making humanity be the reason why it works. The alien begins to engage with humanity in a way that she didn’t consider before. It’s not exacly E.T. but it does the job.

3. The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent)

the babadook

Solitude isn’t always a great thing. And more than that when you’re dealing with grief of a dead husband, a child that’s getting on your nerves and a lack of sleep you can’t blame this lady for going crazy. The film has one of the best designed characters of the year and I wish more would see it.

2. Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher)

gone girl

If there ever was a film with a more surprising twist in 2014 than this I dare you guys to point me in that direction. The way this movie shifts gears I applaud and can’t wait to revisit.

1. Ida (dir. Pawel Pawiloski)

ida

I love big movies, I love small movies. I love this movie. In the film that has a young woman discover her past before she takes her vows to become a nun we watch as so many things happen and are learnt. Womanhood all in a compact 90 minute feature that is down right gorgeous. One of the most striking films of the year is obviously one my favourites.

What’re your favourites of 2014?

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Author: Andrew Robinson

This is my blog. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My blog is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my blog is useless. Without my blog, I am useless. I must fire my blog true. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my blog and myself are defenders of my mind, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.

  • Alex Withrow

    Great picks here. I need to see A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night as soon as possible, heard nothing but good things about it. I also loved Ida, so cool to see it ranked number 1 here.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      Hope you see Girl Walks Alone too… it’s kind of awesome.

  • Squasher88

    For some reason, I thought I remembered you being underwhelmed by ‘Ida’. Weird.

    We’ll probably share a few on our Top 20 lists.

    • Nope. Down right loved Ida from day one. Slightly annoyed me that in 2013 I saw it on the TIFF lineup and had it as an outlier of a film to watch and the only reason I skipped it then is that it was an early morning showing and I was trying to catch some beauty sleep that day.

      Such an amazing movie. Need to get the blu ray of it though.

  • Interesting choices. I loved Gone Girl and The Grand Budapest Hotel too, they’ll for sure make my top ten list this year. I still need to see Ida and the Babadook, saw it in couple of other top lists.

    • Definitely check out those two. I recommend very dark quiet settings for both (for different reasons).

      Let me know what you think when you’ve seen them.